Know your place at the dinner table

Chargers, goblets and forks, oh my!

Are you intimidated by the sight of multiple forks next to your dinner plate?

Lisa Moley, owner of The Proper Setting at 308 Bridge St. in New Cumberland, says you shouldn’t fear flatware.

Learning how to set a table will put you more at ease in social situations where you might once have stumbled.

Good table manners aren’t about alienating those who know which fork is for dessert and which is for salad, but rather about making everyone feel included and important.

Lisa Moley sets a table at The Proper Setting in New Cumberland. (Photos by Paul Kuehnel)

When learning how to maneuver through a maze of cutlery, it’s good to start with those with whom you feel most comfortable, Moley said.

“The best way to learn is sitting with friends. It’s about being with friends in the home and learning with them,” she said. “Also go and watch people at restaurants — you’ll pick it up.”

Moley also said there are small stores — like her own — and plenty of books that can help teach you how to properly set and navigate a table.

And there’s a trick to remembering which fork goes with which course.

“You always start from your outside, in. That’s the way the table is set, it’s the way the courses come,” she said. “So your salad fork is on the outside, then your dinner fork, and so on.”

But if you are out and forget where to begin, don’t fret.

“If you are in the middle of using the wrong fork on the wrong course you can just switch to the correct fork right then,” she said. “You just have to tell your waiter ‘pardon me, I’m going to need a new fork.’”

Table manners are also an important skill to pass down to your children.

Moley taught her kids how to navigate complicated place settings with ease when they were young.

“I think family time is important, and the best family time is spent sitting around the table,” she said.

Brittany Wilson

I'm an Assistant Sports Editor at the Daily Record/Sunday News. I'm a proud Penn State grad and a New Jersey native living on the West Shore. Two of my favorite things are a good book and a long swim -- just not at the same time. Contact me by emailing or on Twitter @brittanylion.

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1 Response

  1. March 20, 2013

    […] the place setting is empty, you may lay the napkin in the middle. If coffee is being served, remember to leave your […]

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